Wednesday, August 2, 2017

HRW sounds alarm at Italy's anti-migrant mission

refugees and migrants italy
Human Rights Watch, the rights advocacy group, has given warning that Italy's naval mission to prevent refugees and migrants from setting sail from Libya for Europe could see Italy commit human-rights abuses.


The Italian parliament on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to providing technical support to the Libyan coastguard in its fight against human traffickers in the hope it would reduce the number of people arriving on Italy's coasts.

Italy's defence minister insisted before the vote that the mission would not be a naval blockade, although legislators from the anti-migrant Northern League, an opposition party, demanded exactly that.

HRW said Italy risked preventing genuine asylum seekers from escaping from a country where migrants face detention in squalid camps and abuse at the hands of traffickers.

"The Italian navy deployment in Libyan waters could effectively lead to arbitrary detention of people in abusive conditions," said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"After years of saving lives at sea, Italy is preparing to help Libyan forces who are known to detain people in conditions that expose them to a real risk of torture, sexual violence, and forced labour."

Such a move "could implicate Italy in human rights abuses".

Italy is expected to begin by sending a logistics ship and patrol boat as well as mechanics to maintain equipment.
 [aljazeera.com]
2/8/17

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